Cheap as chips road to noise isolation
The premise of Sharkfin is not a new one, but it is one of the more interesting products to cross my desk in some time.
Essentially, the idea is to provide a fitted rubber mold so that your ear phones are comfortable, well fitted and successfully block out ambient noise.
That last point is the selling point for me. Having spent most of my adolescence destroying my ear drums with loud music, I’m now absolutely aware that my hearing isn’t what it used to be. Anything that allows me to enjoy music at lower volumes is certainly welcome in my book.
The theory is one that professional companies have been using for years – an earbud that is fitted to the ear lobe of a specific individual, providing the perfect blend of noise isolation and a secure fit.
However, whereas professional companies require molds to be taken of the ear, Sharkfin is a very much do it yourself process.
Inside the kit you’ll find two sealed containers of putty. This review sample was a white/grey affair, but it’s also available in black.
The kit works by mixing the contents of the two containers together, whereby they undergo a chemical reaction to form a silicone rubber substance that hardens in around 5 minutes.
The result is a fitted cuff around each of your earbuds that provides a secure fit to your specific ear.
I found the paper instructions (and the video above) to be very easy to follow, though I don’t think much of my molding skills.
A mirror is a must have when attempting to fit these. Failure to use a mirror will result in a set of molds that don’t look and feel as good as you might expect.
Luckily, Sharkfin comes with enough material to redo one of your earpieces if you make a mess of it the first time, which was a life saver for me.
When it comes to performance, Sharkfin definitely provides a more secure fit than standard earbuds do on their own. Because the silicone is perfectly fitted to the auricle part of your ear, it is very difficult to dislodge through inertia, so most forms of exercise shouldn’t cause any problems.
The silicone compound is also completely inert once set, so you shouldn’t experience any problems with sweat getting on them.
In terms of audio quality, Sharkfin is not going to improve the sound produced by your earphones. But the extra cushioning does provide a decent level of noise isolation, which allows you to hear your music clearly in loud environments at lower volumes.
When it comes to comfort, you’re not going to get much better. It will obviously depend on how carefully the compound was molded while in your ear, but it would be pretty hard to mess it up, and if you do you have the opportunity to redo one of the earpieces. I wore my Sharkfin covered earphones for a two hour sitting and experienced no discomfort at all in that time. In fact, I’d go so far as to say it was one of the more enjoyable listening experiences I’ve had.
For £7.99 you can’t really go wrong. I might be a bit reluctant to fit the product to any expensive earphones, but for molding around a sub-£20 set of buds it’s an ideal product. It’ll definitely improve your level of comfort and the fit of the earbuds to your ear. It’s a bit thumbs up from me.